I was recently conducting an AdWords review for a client and I noticed a sudden leap in clicks, impressions and cost on a carefully segregated Display Network advertising campaign.

The campaign was set for automatic placements so Google was picking which sites to show the ads on. Clicking on the relevant Ad Group followed by Placements revealed a huge number of clicks from mobile apps. I’ve always been suspicious of the genuine value of such clicks, but in this case the names of the apps weren’t listed but instead just a hexadecimal number (digits 0 – 9 and letters A – F). Pure and simply these looked like fraudulent apps setup by somebody to gather false clicks to gather an income off the unsuspecting advertiser.


It’s really not obvious how to turn off Mobile App advertising (there isn’t a “setting” as such). Instead go to the bottom of the Placements screen where it says Exclusions and add


as an exclusion.


I presume Google will be investigating this seemingly blatant fradulent use of their advertising system to extract money from clients and I’m encouraging all clients affected to contact Google to ask for their money back. I wouldn’t hold your breath though – just block mobile app advertising immediately!